Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley – Fahmida Riaz

Guest Post by Raza Rumi

After reading some of the recent posts and comments on the communal politics and the [ab]use of religion, I recalled an interesting article (published in the Hindustan Times November 2005) by Khushwant Singh entitled Voice of Sanity.

The highlight of that piece was a translation of a poem by the Pakistani poet Fahmida Riaz.

The inimitable Fahmida Riaz, who is a favourite of mine, was disappointed during her stay in India (during the 1980s) with the growing trends of exclusion – an anathema to the plurality of India. Fahmida is an outstanding poet and is now a leading literati, activist and prose writer in Pakistan.

Here is a poem that is rather well written and terse.

Naya Bharat (New India)

Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley
Voh moorkhta, voh ghaamarpan
Aakhir pahunchi dwaar tumhaarey

You turned out to be just like us;
Similarly stupid, wallowing in the past,
You’ve reached the same doorstep at last.

Preyt dharma ka naach rahaa hai
Saarey ultey karya karogay
Tum bhee baithey karogey sochaa
Kaun hai Hindu, kaun naheen hai
Ek jaap saa kartey jao
Kitna veer mahaan tha Bharat

Your demon [of] religion dances like a clown,
Whatever you do will be upside down.
You too will sit deep in thought,
Who is Hindu, who is not.
Keep repeating the mantra like a parrot,
Bharat was like the land of the brave

(translated by Khushwant Singh)

For more poems, biographical information on her please visit this link.

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